i'm better UNdignified
a Christian life devotional
Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People | The Storm Before the Miracle
Are you being engulfed in hardship or sorrows? Why would God allow such a thing to happen in your life? It seems like these bad things always happen to the “good” people. I have experienced -and am currently experiencing- the same thing. Luckily for us, our God has not abandoned us or left us in the dark, here is an example He has given me from his Word.
Let’s turn our attention again to Elijah, this time in 1 Kings 18 (NIV). In the third year of the drought, God finally told Elijah to go present himself to Ahab, the king of Israel. This was not because the people of Israel had repented of their wicked ways, but because God was ready to show grace and reach out to His people. He was ready to prove himself to be the only one and true God over the false gods of Baal the people had been worshiping. How would God do this? An even test (it was actually not even, for God’s side was given several impairments, as we will see) or “duel” if you will. These were the rules, or the code duello:
Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God...” (verses 22-24).
First impairment for God’s side: 150 prophets of Baal to 1 prophet of God (Elijah). Second, I don’t know if we’d classify this one as an impairment, but Elijah let the prophets of Baal choose their bull first. We’ll get to some more later.
So now to the duel. BAAL, FIGHT!
Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention (verse 29).
Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood” (verses 30-33).
So Elijah rebuilt the Lord’s temple and prepared the altar. Did you catch what he did at the end though?? Impairment number 3: he tells them to pour 4 large jars of water on the offering and the wood. Talk about a bad things happening to good people! Why would God direct Elijah to tell them this? How can God light a fire with the offering and wood engulfed in water? Have you ever been camping and tried to light a fire with wood that had been out in the rain?! It doesn’t work! And as if that wasn’t enough, he tells them, Do it again... and Do it a third time... (verse 34). It says that The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench (verse 35). It is now next to impossible to light this!
In the midst of all this, we are told in verses 36-37, that Elijah PRAYED.
God did what seemed impossible to us and lit the sacrifice on fire despite the TWELVE large buckets of water poured on it! The fire even got rid of the water in the trench!
In the same way, God may be allowing the devil to pour buckets of water on your life today. And with each bucket, your situation begins to look worse and worse, more impossible for God to solve. Folks, I’m glad that we serve a God of possibilities.
Remember, God allowed them to pour TWELVE buckets of water on that sacrifice before He did a miracle. God wants to do a miracle in your life today, and he can. Sometimes though, He lets all those buckets of water –or hardships- be poured over our lives, sometimes until we are engulfed. Why does he allow this? So in the end we can look back on that situation and see that there was NO WAY that situation could have been turned around for good by our own power. He allows it so we can see His hand at work and His name can be praised. He allows it so that we have a great testimony that was undeniably the work of the Lord, and so with that testimony we can encourage others and reach the lost for Jesus. We serve a God of miracles.
What we must do for God to turn these bad things around for good in this way, is one, have faith, and two, PRAY. We must PRAY and PRAISE even in the storm, ESPECIALLY in the storm. Elijah, a great prophet of God, whom God used to preform many miracles, even though he already knew the work God was going to do and had faith, had to fall down before God and PRAY (verses 36-37) before God worked the miracle and lit the sacrifice.
What hardships are being poured over your life? What miracles?